In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom…
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Image of the Day: More Economic Freedom = Higher Standard of Living

In last week's Liberty Update, we highlighted the Heritage Foundation's 2022 Index of Economic Freedom, which shows that Joe Biden has dragged the U.S. down to 22nd, our lowest rank ever (we placed 4th in the first Index in 1995, and climbed back up from 18th to 12th under President Trump).  As we noted, among the Index's invaluable metrics is how it demonstrates the objective correlation between more economic freedom and higher citizen standards of living, which this graphic illustrates:

 …[more]

May 19, 2022 • 12:53 PM

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Texas Highlights Peril of "Green Energy" Agenda Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 25 2021
While renewable energy can play a role in America’s energy marketplace, government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, or distort the consumer market through mandates that stack the deck in its favor versus more reliable sources like fossil fuels and nuclear.

Leave it to “green energy” advocates and environmental extremists to brazenly ignore their failures in the wake of Texas winter power outages.  

Instead, they shamelessly double down and scapegoat more reliable fossil fuels and nuclear energy sources.  

What Texas and the rest of America really need, they insist, is more by way of renewable energy mandates and utility market distortions.  

After a historically frigid winter storm overwhelmed the state’s electricity grid, snow, ice and record low temperatures triggered failures that left millions across the state without power.  Almost every type of power generation suffered mechanical and logistical malfunctions, prompting a predictable episode of finger-pointing and rationalizations from wind and solar apologists.  As one example, the preposterously misnamed “PolitiFact” asserted in a headline, “Natural Gas, Not Wind Turbines, Main Driver of Texas Power Shortage.”  

Even Biden Administration actions, however, belie green energy enthusiasts’ reassurances.  It conspicuously ordered rapid deployment of diesel generators, not portable windmills or solar panels, to help relieve those Texas residents still enduring power outages.   

More fundamentally, objective numbers refute the green energy apologists’ claims.  Wind power suffered the worst failures of all energy types, by far. 

According to Michael Rolling at the Center of the American Experiment, during the blackout wind generated power at just 12% of its capacity, versus 76% for nuclear plants, 39% for coal power and gas with 38%.  Whereas wind and solar cannot generate power around the clock whenever the wind slows, turbines themselves freeze or the sun sets or remains hidden by clouds, coal plants typically maintain 90 days of fuel and nuclear plants require refueling only every two years.  Although gas power plants rely upon just-in-time fuel delivery for supply, which can fail amid extreme weather conditions, they still produce more reliably than wind and solar, as the statistics make clear.  

Mr. Rolling analyzed six types of Texas power generation – nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind, solar and hydro – and graded each on the basis of how much of their available capacity produced power during the freeze:  

[T]he top three performing energy sources during the energy crisis in Texas were all fuel-based energy sources:  nuclear, coal, and natural gas.  On average, these three energy sources alone provided 91 percent of all electricity generated throughout the energy emergency.  Without these energy sources on the grid providing the bulk of electricity, the situation in Texas would have gone from bad to worse.  Remarkably, natural gas still generated electricity at 38 percent of its total capacity throughout the energy emergency – providing an average over 65 percent of all electricity generation through Monday and Tuesday – despite roughly 30 GW being inoperable due to frozen pipelines holding up fuel.  This means that the natural gas facilities that could still receive fuel were operating at capacity factors of more than 62 percent.  

The three worst-performing generating assets, on the other hand, belonged exclusively to renewable energy sources:  solar, hydro, and wind.  Had Texas been even more reliant on these energy sources, as renewable energy advocates around the country desire, the energy crisis in Texas would have been even worse.  

Accordingly, nuclear power received an “A” grade from Mr. Rolling for its performance, followed by coal and natural gas with “C” grades.  Renewable sources trailed behind, with solar scoring a “D” grade and wind and hydro grading out at an “F” level.  

To be clear, renewable energy certainly offers promise as a current and future source of American power in an “all of the above” free market.  The Texas experience reconfirms, however, that they remain unreliable energy sources in comparison to gas, coal and nuclear.  While Texas energy failures can’t be laid entirely at the feet of wind, solar and hydro, imagine how much worse the situation would have been if the state was even more reliant on green energy.  

Yet that’s precisely what activists demand.  And they’re joined by leftist political leaders, from Joe Biden on down.  At the federal, state and local levels, such people seek to eliminate fossil fuels in favor of green energy sources, and shut down projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.  Demonstrating that he’s apparently incapable of getting any issue right, for example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo presides over a state mandate that renewables account for 70% of power by the end of this decade.  

While renewable energy can play a role in America’s energy marketplace, government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, or distort the consumer market through mandates that stack the deck in its favor versus more reliable sources like fossil fuels and nuclear.  We’ve just witnessed the potential peril of that agenda, and must work to minimize rather than exacerbate the danger of repeating it on a larger scale in coming years.  

By the way, where did electric vehicle absolutists living in Texas power their cars during the storm?  Just curious.  

Quiz Question   
How many days does it take the average U.S. household to consume as much electrical power as one single bitcoin transaction?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"Lawmakers continued to raise concerns about the Internal Revenue Service at a Congressional hearing this week as the agency deals with billions in misspent dollars, hefty processing backlogs, and complaints over poor customer service.Lawmakers lobbed questions at the tax-collecting agency during the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing.'The program has an annual improper payment rate…[more]
 
 
—Casey Harper, The Center Square
— Casey Harper, The Center Square
 
Liberty Poll   

Should any U.S. government agency have a function called the "Disinformation Governance Board" (See Homeland Security, Department of)?